Qatar reported outstanding tourism numbers for January and February 2023, welcoming a total of 730,000 visitors during this period. This marks an increase of 347 percent compared to the same period in the previous year. January saw a year-on-year increase of 295 percent with 340,000 international visitors, while February witnessed a remarkable 406 percent increase, hosting 389,000 visitors. Furthermore, February 2023 became one of the busiest months for tourism in Qatar over the past decade, only surpassed by the months during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
Qatar has organized a series of high-profile events that have attracted both tourists and locals. In Doha, which has been designated as the Arab Tourism Capital for 2023, major sporting events like the Visit Qatar GKA Freestyle Kite World Cup 2023, Qatar TotalEnergies Open, and Qatar ExxonMobil Open have drawn large crowds and showcased the city’s capacity to host world-class events.
Qatar Tourism’s “Feel Winter in Qatar” campaign also included a variety of events that contributed to the increase in tourism. The Qatar Balloon Festival painted Doha’s sky with over 50 hot air balloons from 17 different countries, creating a visually stunning spectacle. Disney Princess The Concert, brought to audiences in partnership with Qatar Airways, captivated families and Disney fans alike.
Family-friendly performances such as the PAW Patrol Festival and Circus 1903 entertained visitors of all ages, while music lovers were treated to stellar shows by John Legend, Angham, Mutref Al Mutref, Abdul Aziz Al Muana, Ibraheem Dashti, Asala, and many more.
In addition to the exciting events, the celebrations of Kuwait National Day and Saudi Founding Day in the second half of February further contributed to the surge in tourism. These festivities led to a significant increase in the number of visitors arriving from both countries. Specifically, there were 86,000 arrivals from Saudi Arabia and 20,000 arrivals from Kuwait, which together constituted 73 percent of all arrivals from the GCC and 27 percent of all international arrivals in February. Saudi Arabia stood as Qatar’s biggest contributor, representing 22 percent of total visitors to Qatar in January and February 2023. This highlights the strong regional ties and the impact of such celebrations on Qatar’s tourism sector.
In light of the record-breaking tourism figures, Berthold Trenkel, Chief Operating Officer at Qatar Tourism, shared his enthusiasm about the progress made towards the country’s 2030 strategy. The strategy aims to welcome 6-7 million visitors annually, increase employment in the tourism sector, and have tourism account for 12 percent of Qatar’s GDP. Trenkel emphasized that the strong performance showcases Qatar’s growing reputation as a world-class destination for travelers seeking unique experiences. This exceptional achievement further motivates Qatar Tourism to continue innovating and providing unforgettable experiences for its visitors.